At least 100 killed in border clashes between Ethiopia's Somali and Afar regions - official
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Border clashes between Ethiopia's Afar and Somali regions have killed at least 100 people, a regional official said on Tuesday, the latest outbreak of violence ahead of national elections in June. Around 100 civilians were killed since clashes broke out on Friday and continued through Tuesday, Ahmed Humed, deputy police commissioner for the Afar region, told Reuters by phone.
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Border clashes between Ethiopia's Afar and Somali regions have killed at least 100 people, a regional official said on Tuesday, the latest outbreak of violence ahead of national elections in June.
Around 100 civilians were killed since clashes broke out on Friday and continued through Tuesday, Ahmed Humed, deputy police commissioner for the Afar region, told Reuters by phone. He blamed the violence on an attack by Somali regional forces.
Ali Bedel, a spokesman for the Somali region, said 25 people had been killed on Friday and an “unknown number of civilians” died in a subsequent attack by the same forces on Tuesday.
Both sides deny having initiated the attacks and blame the other for the violence. Reuters could not verify whether the 25 deaths claimed by the Somali official were in addition to the 100 deaths or included in that figure.
Clashes along the border predate the six-month-old conflict in the north that has pitted the federal government against the former ruling party of the Tigray region.
Yet the violence has intensified just as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is trying to assert control over Tigray - underscoring how the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner is struggling to keep the country together. The election is regarded as a litmus test for the country’s fragile unity, challenged by many newly resurgent regional and ethnically based parties.
"The Somali region special forces ... attacked the areas of Haruk and Gewane using heavy weapons including machinegun and rocket-propelled grenades. Children and women were killed while they were sleeping," Ahmed said.
In 2014 the boundary between the two states was redrawn by the federal government, then headed by a multi-ethnic ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Three small towns were transferred to Afar from Somali, which has since tried to win them back.
As a result militias from the two eastern states have clashed before over their disputed boundaries. In October last year 27 people were killed in a wave of clashes over the border, with each side blaming the other.
(Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Philippa Fletcher)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.